Every NBA DFS lineup needs to draw from the bottom of the player well to balance those stars who spend through the DraftKings or FanDuel salary cap with such ease. Bargain players are ideally those with low salaries, but plenty of upside. Opportunity is often the key to success for our low-cost lineup fillers.
Happy Valentines Day, and happy All-Star Break. Hope everyone is celebrating big tonight with some small-slate DFS. That’s right, we’re kicking off the break with just three games tonight, but they do make for a very playable slate. Three of the six teams taking the court tonight rank in the top 4 in fantasy points allowed to opposing teams (Atlanta (first), New Orleans (third) and New York (fourth). Oklahoma City is the best defensive team on the floor tonight, with Orlando not too far behind. The Thunder at Pelicans game is the one to take your stars from, at a 237 point total carrying the narrowest spread of the three. Note that Paul George is more expensive than Russell Westbrook on FanDuel…which makes him look like a major bargain on DraftKings.
Injuries to be aware of include Elfrid Payton, who is questionable to make a long awaited return and Kevin Huerter, who is probable. Jerami Grant and Dennis Schroder are ruled out again tonight. Remember with the break officially starting tomorrow, stars may not play as many minutes as usual and you have to be on the lookout for last minute scratches. Guys who aren’t participating in the World vs. USA or All-Star games may be the safest plays tonight. For the record, in addition to stars Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Kemba Walker, Nikola Vucevic and Anthony Davis, John Collins, Kevin Knox, Trae Young, Dennis Smith Jr., Miles Bridges and Hamidou Diallo are participating in events during All-Star Weekend. Enjoy!
Kadeem Allen – G – New York (FD: $4000, DK: $4200)
What Allen has done in his past three games is surprising to say the least. At another point in the season, I might think it’s a flash in the pan, so to speak, but with the All-Star break upon us and Dennis Smith Jr. one of the participants, the Knicks may give Allen even a few extra minutes tonight. In the last three games, Allen is averaging 34 fantasy points per game, with double-digit points in all, at least four assists in all, and a total of six steals. Given that Atlanta turns the ball over at the league’s highest rate, I expect multiple steals again tonight. He’s worth a risk in this No. 1 PG matchup with the Hawks tonight.
Taurean Prince – SF – Atlanta (FD: $5500, DK: $4700)
Prince’s salary remains low despite his being returned to the starting lineup thanks to his up and down production. The Hawks are deep if Huerter is healthy, and they do take turns exceeding value. Prince is a decent risk/reward candidate given the possibility that Young and Collins could take it a bit easy given their involvement in the All-Star activities not to mention the fact that Atlanta is a seven-point favorite at home. His multi-category production usually gives him some way to make value and he’s coming off a high-volume shooting night, making 4-of-9 threes. In two previous matchups with the Knicks, Prince is averaging 30 fantasy points.
Kenrich Williams – SF – New Orleans (FD: $6000, DK: $5400)
His price is rising, but in the game with the highest point total and the most stars at risk for rest, Williams is in a good position to play another 30-plus minutes and take advantage of the Thunder’s primary defensive weakness on the wing. The fact that he’s coming off a poor game vs. Orlando should reduce his ownership somewhat, but I expect a nice bounce-back game from the rookie.
Terrance Ferguson – SG – Oklahoma City (FD: $4000, DK: $4100)
With Grant and Schroder set to miss tonight’s game, I’m a little more confident in Ferguson, but he’s not without risk. Deonte Burton (FD: $3700, DK: $3600)came out of nowhere to play 26 minutes and scored 18 points Tuesday night under these circumstances. However, Ferguson has a secure role in the lineup, playing close to 30 MPG, which is valuable in a high scoring environment like this. New Orleans ranks seventh in fantasy points allowed to opposing SGs, so either cheap guard could be worth a spot in your lineup.
Mitchell Robinson– C – New York (FD: $5400, DK: $4100)
It’s the only position the Hawks don’t rank in the top 10 in fantasy points allowed, but Robinson has found a way to produce regardless of opponent, including a massive effort for nearly 50 fantasy points vs. Philadelphia last night. He has 14 blocks in his last five games, which include two double-doubles. If you’re not spending up on Nikola Vucevic, and even if you are on DK, Robinson is a great value salary-saver tonight.